Toy Story 4 – warning to parents on 3D

Posted on 19 June 2019
By Chiara Costa
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Warnings that young children could be harmed by watching films in 3-D have been flagged-up as Toy Story 4 premieres in the UK.

Previous Toy Story films pre-date the widespread use of 3-D technology but from June 21st the film be viewed with stereo-effect spectacles in some cinemas.

Toy Story 4 features the very latest in 3D animation technology, including not-only “in your lap” action but also on the surface texture of characters.

The latest Disney blockbuster has been rated U, by the British Board of Film Classification and is suitable children as young as four, but some suggest kids under six should not be allowed to watch in three-dimensions.

The French national health and safety agency “ANSES” suggests a ban on children under six using 3D technology and has warned that it should be limited until the age of 10.

“Children under six should be banned from stereoscopic technology such as 3D movies, computers and video games,” said ANSES in a report on its potential harmful effects.

The latest ANSES update says:”An analysis of the scientific literature since 2011 identified different symptoms potentially related to exposure to 3D audiovisual interfaces, resulting from the visual fatigue due to “vergence-accommodation conflict”.

“Visual fatigue during exposure to 3D audiovisual interfaces can take the form of: fatigue and pain around the eyes, a sensation of dry eyes, visual disorders (double vision, reduced sensitivity to spatial contrasts, reduced visual acuity and speed of perception), and extra-ocular disorders (headache, neck pain, aching in the back and shoulders, poorer performance in mental activities, loss of concentration).

Other symptoms may potentially appear, including effects linked to postural balance (dizziness) or to the appreciation of reality (altered perception of one’s surroundings). Although these effects have not yet been sufficiently studied, they could generate a short-term risk of accidents related to dizziness.

In children, especially before the age of six, more severe health effects related to “vergence-accommodation conflict” in the eyes may occur, as a result of the active development of the visual system during this period.”.

Martin Banks, Professor of vision science at the University of California at Berkley explained the concerns.

“Changes occur until the teenage years and the visual experiences a child receives, affects the development of binocular circuits, which are needed for depth perception.

“These observations mean that there should be careful monitoring of how the new technology affects young children.

“In everyday life, our eyes move from one object to another. When the eyes are focused on an object, vergence (the turning motion of the eyeballs toward or away from each other) is ‘acute’ and the viewer sees a single object, not two.

“Usually, both properties of binocular vision are operating on one object placed a certain distance away from the eye, but in 3D films, the image appears in front or behind the screen.

“The difference in distance means that there can be a conflict, which makes images appear blurry to some people. This blurriness has been shown to cause some people discomfort.”

However, Professor Banks says there is no evidence to prove that adverse effects from watching 3D films can cause permanent damage to eyesight.